Fun fact: Intense exercises like running can cause up to 20 fold increase in the body’s heat production.

This heat is generated from the energy that our muscles burn to keep us moving forward. It raises your body’s core temperature and one way we keep ourselves cooler is by sweating. As unpleasant as it sounds, everybody knows (or should know) how good sweat is for you.

As the rains pour down, it gives us some relief from the heat when running, but during dry spells, the heat outside can cause over-heating and sunstroke, both of which are very dangerous. One way of getting rid of this heat is sweating. It’s the easiest way to counter the over-heating, but sometimes dry heat can make sweating impossible. Here are some ways you can run outside without falling to suntroke.

  • Give yourself a week or two to acclimatize to the heat. Don’t dive into your regular run schedule. Get used to the heat and gradually increase your load.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking small quantities of water every 15 minutes if you run for over 30 minutes.
  • Wear a light hat, and eyewear that filters UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid running from noon till 3pm. As a rule of thumb, run when your shadow is tall.
  • Running in Breamar Hill in Hong Kong (Image: South China Morning Post)
    Evening runs in shaded parks or trails can help you stay cooler (Image: South China Morning Post)
  • Eat salty foods (energy snacks) and drinks (tomato juice). You lose a lot of salts while running in the heat, so this is a great way of replenishing it.
  • Wear light-colored, microfibre clothing. We all know dark colors absorb a lot of heat. Light clothing doesn’t ward off heat stroke but it’s one of many measures that will keep you cooler.
  • Weigh yourself before and after your run. For every pound of weight lost, drink around half a litre of fluid.
  • And this last one is very important: Thirst is not an indicator of dehydration. If you’re thirsty, you are already low on fluids. A fair indication of dehydration is an elevated heart rate during and after your run, as well as dark colored urine. Keep drinking fluids till your urine is clear.
  • Pockets of India are brutally hot even during the rains, and we want our FirstRunners running hard, but running safe. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping yourself safe in the sun.

    Main image: Chris Hunkeler

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